Monday, September 12, 2005

NC has a State Lottery

A buddy of mine has ranted about it so I thought I'd weigh in on the issue.

I don't think I like the idea of a State Owned Lotto. I love the idea of the State allowing legal gambling. I don't think this is what NC has though I'd have to read the bill to be 100%. According to the TechnicianOnline website, an NC Lottery Commission will be established (read: More Government) to oversee the operations. Overhead for this commission will come from revenues gained by the lottery. Also, net revenue will be go into an Educational Lottery Fund with the purpose of funding education, building public schools and to provide college scholarships to 'needy' students. In any event, the State Lotto is essentially a state run monopoly. If Bill can't have one why should NC?

On paper the Lotto looks good. I don't gamble and my daughter doesn't attend public school so this won't really affect me much. I don't buy into the whole "gambling keeps the poor poor" tangent that Hannas rants about. Gambling is a choice. If someone who doesn't have much chooses to spend what little they have on a lotto ticket who am I to bar their way.

In North Carolina, spirits (i.e. liquor) can only be sold from ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) stores. These stores are only licensed and taxed by the State. They are privately owned and operated. I think this is how the Lotto should be run. The commission would oversee taxing the private enterprises that would spring up and be accountable for the distribution of funds, but in no way would the State actually participate in the Lotto itself.

One of the primary selling points for the Lotto is that it will be tied to education. This sounds good and the additional revenue could indeed help offset the cost of education in NC. The problem is that I don't trust the government to keep current funding in place once the Lotto is up and running. The traditional funds will most likely be diverted to other areas as pointed out by the John Locke Foundation. This happened on the Federal level with Social Security.

I agree with Hannas in that gambling, prostitution, drugs and other forms of adult entertainment should be legal. It's not the State's job to be our moral compass. I also agree that the State should not participate (aside from taxation) in these areas. Of course, I also believe the legal drinking age should be reduced to 18 - I'm just crazy that way. I also don't think my taxes should go towards things I don't believe in such as abortion, welfare and social services. But such is the cost of living in America. If I don't agree with the status quo I vote, and have voted, for change. I would have voted YES to legalize gambling. I would have voted NO for state run gambling.

The problem we have here in NC, and really in any Deep South state where religion holds sway, is that government is seen as a parental power instead of a peer power. If you think things should be a certain way you try and get a law passed to enforce it. They have that in Iran too, and look how well that works out for them.


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